SARAJEVO, Bosnia (October 9,2008) - The first meeting of the EC-Bosnia Interim Committee was held on 7 October 2008 in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. This body was established under the Interim Agreement which entered into force on 1 July 2008 and which allows for comprehensive trade liberalisation between the European Union and Bosnia.
This is an important step forward in the Stabilisation and Association Process of the country. At its first constitutive meeting the Interim Committee approved its internal rules of procedure and set up a number of sub-committees to assist it in monitoring the implementation of the Agreement.
The meeting offered an opportunity for the Parties to have a fruitful discussion on current and future priorities, including on free movement of goods, customs and taxation, competition, intellectual and industrial property and transit traffic. Bosnia's WTO accession negotiations and the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) implementation were also discussed.
While most of the industrial, agricultural and fishery products from Bosnia have been given duty and quota free access to the European internal market, Bosnia is granted the right to progressively reduce such duties over five years on goods of EU-origin.
"This will enable larger inflow of foreign investment in Bosnia”, stated Pierre Mirrel, Director of the Commission's Directorate General for Enlargement.
The Commission welcomed the adoption of an Action Plan for the implementation of the Agreement by the Bosnian government and encouraged the country to enhance preparations for full implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union.
In this framework, it also encouraged Bosnia to ensure full compliance with the European Convention for Human Rights, full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and early preparations for a census in 2011.
The Bosnian delegation to the meeting was led by the Director of the Bosnian Directorate for European Integration, Osman Topcagic.